Windhoek – Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah says the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will boost cultural and creative industries across visual arts, music, literature, cuisine, fashion and crafts.
Deputy PM Nandi–Ndaitwah said this as she joined the continent in celebrating Africa Day 2021 (May 25), which was themed “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”. The theme is in line with Aspiration 5 of Agenda 2063, which speaks to Africa’s cultural identity, values and ethics.
Deputy PM Nandi–Ndaitwah said, “On this Africa Day, we therefore celebrate our artists, singers, musicians, cultural workers, writers, chefs and fashion designers, and stand in solidarity with them, because the COVID 19 pandemic significantly affected these industries since 2020.”
She said the AU had significantly promoted unity and solidarity for improved livelihoods.
“We are proud to state that the founders fulfilled their cherished dream of free and independent African countries to take their rightful place among the world’s sovereign nations. We, therefore, pay homage to the founders of the OAU who worked tirelessly for the independence of African States, and fulfilled their primary historic mission.
“Building on the solid foundations laid by the founders and in the pursuit of economic independence, on July 11, 2002, African leaders transformed the OAU into the African Union (AU) in order to move forward towards integration and increased levels of cooperation among African states as well as to boost Africa’s economic growth and development,” she added.
The Namibian Deputy PM also said: “Agenda 2063 builds upon past continental initiatives such as the Lagos Plan of Action, which called for the mobilization of internal resources to fast-track the socio-economic development of Africa, the Abuja Treaty, which established the regional economic communities, and the African Union Development Agency, NEPAD. Therefore, the implementation of Agenda 2063 remains the main preoccupation for Africa. Shaping an Africa whose development is people-centred, harnessing the potential offered by African peoples, especially its women and youth, and caring for its children, to whom Africa’s future belongs, remains a priority above all priorities.”
She said arts and culture contributed significantly to poverty alleviation through job creation, social inclusion and integration of societies.
“It is hoped that these mainstays for millions of Africans and their families will be revived, so that our continent can achieve its vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena,” Deputy PM Nandi–Ndaitwah said.